About the Host School
Currently there are over 1,600 students enrolled from ages of 15-18. The facilities are very good and include computer and language labs, indoor and outdoor stadiums and dormitories for the large cohort of weekly and full boarders. The school attracts a very high proportion of well educated and well qualified teachers and is a highly sought after setting for Chinese educators.
About the IB Centre
The IB Centre opened with the first student intake in September 2011. Currently there are 268 students in three year groups with 19 expatriate teachers and 5 Chinese teachers. Our students are lively and interesting young people who have adapted to a new pedagogy, new school and new teachers. Many are also boarding for the first time. They are keen to learn and excited about the challenge of the IB and the requirement to study in English. The Centre has access to all resources from the host school, including science labs, IT, studios, and lecture theatres. It also has its own classrooms, study rooms, teacher rooms, printing room and meeting room.
We have a prep room for our three Science labs, a music room, a greatly expanded IB library, and several classrooms to accommodate our larger student population.
Our students are very active in extracurricular activities. The IB CAS program (Creativity, Action, Service) requires students to actively take part in and reflect on extracurricular work; at our Centre we have a very wide range of CAS clubs: football, cricket, table tennis, volleyball, dance, Roots & Shoots, MUN, Aviation, carpentry, French, IBTV video club, yearbook, arts and crafts, peer tutoring, photography, choir, and more.
Shanghai is an exciting "cutting edge" cosmopolitan city with a multitude of activities. It is an architecture lover’s dream, with ultramodern skyscrapers, colonial lane houses, and Buddhist temples virtually side-by-side. There are exhibitions, jazz clubs, shopping malls and many quaint side streets with small restaurants to sample. With friendly local people and a large expatriate community it is easy to make friends. Shanghai offers a fast-paced urban lifestyle for the on-the-go professional with simple or sophisticated tastes. Travel opportunities abound both domestically and around Asia.
Several teachers live within a 30-minute walk/10 minute drive of the school in northern Shanghai, though some staff do live closer to downtown. Shanghai has a great public transport system and the thousands of taxis offer convenient travel to and from downtown.
Teacher Case Study
Teaching is a second career for me. I spent many years in Boston, first as an executive assistant and then an account executive at an advertising firm, while I worked towards a BFA in English followed by an MA in Education. I chose a teaching career after years (too many) in the business sector because I was unsatisfied at my job. It was all about making money and I wanted to do something that was fulfilling. It's a cliché but true. I ended up at a suburban high school in southeastern Connecticut, where I taught literature analysis and writing skills to Seniors.
My role here is two-fold. My first role is teaching English, primarily English language acquisition but some literature as well. Keeping students engaged is paramount so I try to make learning as interesting and fun as possible. My second role here is to prepare students for university in the West. The cultures are significantly different and it's important that they understand as much as possible about the differences in order to minimize the transition and increase their chance of success.
My colleagues are great and a definite benefit of working here. The people I work with are smart, hardworking, and charismatic. They immediately, literally the day I arrived, welcomed me into their social circle and, when the school year began, my department mates were supportive in terms of helping with lesson content and coaching through the learning curve that comes with learning a new curriculum. Another benefit is the kids. Everybody I know appreciates teaching Chinese students and, if you read more about teaching in this country, you will hear it over and over again. I've taught plenty of "reluctant learners" but not one of them was here. They are a pleasure.
The lifestyle is comfortable and it's a huge city! Lots to do and plenty of people to meet. I live near the school which is located near a university. This means plenty of coffee shops and a bit of Western food. Some of my colleagues live downtown, so if that's your preference, it's definitely an option.
I've worked abroad for short summer stints but never packed up, stored all of my belongings, hugged my friends and family, and moved out of the country. I was nervous moving here alone because of the cultural differences and the fact that I didn't speak any Chinese but it's been just fine. Though, I strongly recommend learning some basic Chinese before you come!
Student Case Study
Being a typical Chinese student throughout my first 15 years, I was amazed when I first looked into what the IB program could offer. For me, IB is not merely an educational organization but a glittering lamp leading me to pursue my personal ideal relentlessly and to become a whole person who can think comprehensively and globally, or even ahead of others. It’s a huge transition for me to step out of my little limited world after completing middle school in a traditional Chinese school. Then, 2012 September starts my real IB year. I found it really challenges me and stretches me to my outer limits. Six core subjects, Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, CAS, deadlines, papers, and assignments consist of my high school life and make me busy like a worker bee. But at the same time, I have a strong sense of fulfillment. Now, my journey of learning has just started and I can clearly see my future with eternal faith embedded in my heart. I’m proud of being an IB student.
Personally, I really gained a lot in studying in this program. Every time I stand up and present my ideas in front of the class, some kind of trivial improvement is made. In my IGCSE year, I could not help myself staring at a solid point or reading through my speech while presenting to the audience in English. To be honest, at that time speaking English almost drove me crazy. I know exactly what I am trying to say, but I just lack tools to convey it, especially when I feel intimidated. Now I am a lot more confident in delivering class speeches and feel happy to express myself better.
Can we really trust experts? What is the ethical way of doing things? How do we learn knowledge? How do science and religion interact? I value curiosity as one of my best qualities and I learn how to be an independent thinker in this class---Theory of Knowledge. Skepticism is rare in Chinese classes but ordinary in our IB classes. Facing the facts, opinions, counter-arguments, observations, experiences - we live in a world with endless controversy. Our discussion topics range from history, science, politics, ethics, mathematics to philosophy.
I always believe that facing challenges is the quickest way to become mentally mature so I’m glad to embrace tough tasks. I’m the founder of dance club, drama club, MUN and ‘Temple Runner Project’.
Looking for a university which values inquiry and uniqueness, I think top Liberal Arts Colleges are my first choice and I wish to get my doctor degree in a world class university. I would like to engrave the motto of “possible bright future of China” on my heart no matter where I go.